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CalHR Issues Pay Letters and Pay Differentials Adjusting Pay

Posted: 7/17/2020 Tags: benefits budget COVID-19 legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 3760

This week CalHR issued a series of Pay Letters and Pay Differentials adjusting pay for excluded employees. CalHR confirmed to ACSS that the expectation remains that the State Controller’s Office will implement the major changes with the July pay period. This means the next paychecks are expected to include the following:

Personal Leave Program 2020 – a reduction in pay of 9.23% (equivalent to two days’ pay) and accrual of 16 hours of personal leave credit, to be used in the same manner as vacation/annual leave and before any other paid leave (except sick leave).

Suspension of “OPEB/CERBT” Employee Contribution – excluded employees will not pay the contribution to prefund retiree healthcare. The contributions range generally from 2 percent to 4.6 percent of salary. Excluded employees related to bargaining units 12 and 13 will continue to see the deduction, but will receive a pay differential in an equivalent amount. (This pay differential has not yet issued, but is expected to be retroactive to July 1, 2020 if not implemented with the July pay warrant.)

Although General Salary Increases effective July 1, 2020 were suspended or deferred, Merit Salary Adjustments for employees not at the top step of their classifications are unaffected and will continue.

Exempt and Excluded Employees Associated with SEIU Bargaining Units (1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21)

  • $260 per month taxable cash benefit to improve access and affordability of healthcare
  • Geographic Pay of $250 per month for employees working in Orange, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties
  • Special Salary Adjustments (generally 5%) for employees in nearly 100 classifications

>>Click here to review the Pay Letter listing the excluded employee classifications receiving the SSA increases.

Exempt and Excluded Employees Associated with Unit 18

  • A General Salary Increase of 2.75% retroactive to January 1, 2020
  • A Special Salary Adjustment at the top step of 2.5%, effective July 1, 2020 (S18 and M18 employees at the top step of the class for 12 months or more will receive the increase immediately; others will receive the increase through Merit Salary Adjustments when eligible)

As of today, ACSS awaits a Pay Letter implementing expected salary adjustments for S07 and M07 excluded employees related to the Criminalist series and changes to longevity pay, and a change to a pay differentials for DSH Police Officers and S16 and M16 employees for Continuing Medical Education expenses.

ACSS’ initial review has identified a few anomalies in the Special Salary Adjustments. We will pursue clarification and possible corrections or potential amendments to the Pay Letters with CalHR.


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Excluded Employee Compensation Plan for 2020-2021


The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has released the outline of the excluded employee pay plan for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We are pleased that the outline contains most of the items ACSS has advocated for in light of the Administration’s mandated state employee compensation decreases due to the large state budget deficits related to the ongoing pandemic.

The exempt and excluded pay plan effective July 1, 2020 includes:

  • Two day-per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) reducing compensation by 9.23% and providing 16 hours of leave credit per month. The PLP credit will not need to be used in the month it is accrued, but taken before other paid leave (except sick leave).
  • Suspending employee payments to pre-fund retiree health care. The deduction is shown on your pay warrant as “OPEB/CERBT”. The deductions for employees related to units 12 and 13 will continue, but be offset by a pay differential.
  • General Salary Increases are suspended.
  • Special Salary Adjustments and Pay Differentials will be extended to exempt and excluded employees where appropriate.
  • All employees related to the nine SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21) will receive a $260 per month taxable cash benefit to offset health care costs.
  • The Vacation/Annual Leave Cap is increased by the amount of the PLP accrued for excluded employees related to bargaining units 2, 9, 10 and 19.

CalHR is working on pay letters to implement the details of the leave program and special salary and pay differential adjustments. CalHR expects to issue a series of pay letters “in the coming weeks” and has informed ACSS they are working with the State Controller’s Office to try to implement the majority of the salary adjustments in the July pay period.

As the pay letters are developed, ACSS will continue advocacy with CalHR to ensure excluded employees receive all appropriate special salary adjustments and pay differentials and will keep you informed regarding the expected timing of the pay adjustments.


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Excluded Employee Compensation Update – Personal Leave Program


The employee compensation reductions called for by the Governor and reflected in the state budget are coming into focus. The Legislature encouraged rank-and-file groups to agree to reductions through collective bargaining. Without those agreements, the Legislature would authorize employee compensation reductions. Two groups have reached agreement, including SEIU Local 1000 representing nine of the State’s 21 bargaining units and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), representing Bargaining Unit 6.

The Local 1000 agreement gives a road map to other bargaining units and sets the expectations for likely excluded employee compensation adjustments – a two-day per month “Personal Leave Program” offset in part by suspending the employee contribution to pre-fund retiree health care. This framework is consistent with the approach ACSS has advocated for in light of the excluded employee compensation reductions required by the recent COVID-19 related budget deficits being addressed by the revised state budget.

SEIU Local 1000 Agreement

The tentative agreement or “Side Letter” to modify the Local 1000 labor contract includes the following for rank-and-file employees:

  • Two day-per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) reducing compensation by 9.23% and providing 16 hours of leave credit per month for two years
  • Suspending employee payments to pre-fund retiree health care for two years; employees will not pay this contribution which would otherwise increase to 3.5% effective July 1, 2020
  • All employees will receive $260 per month to offset health care costs
  • Defers the 2.5% July 1, 2020 general salary increase for two years (the 2% increase scheduled for July 1, 2021 is not impacted)
  • Special Salary Adjustments (generally 5%) for 176 classifications of employees will still be paid effective July 1, 2020
  • If federal money is received and/or state budget revenue allows, the cuts and deferrals could end early

Under the PLP, employees work their full schedules. The reductions do not change salary ranges and do not impact benefits or retirement calculations. PLP credits do not count toward the vacation/annual leave cap and need to be used before other paid leave, except sick leave.

With the $260 per month and suspension of the retiree health contribution, the PLP reductions of 9.23% will be significantly mitigated for most employees. Some employees receiving special salary adjustments will still see small increases in their paychecks despite the PLP reductions.

What This Means for Excluded Employees

The Administration has made clear it intends to tie excluded employees to their related bargaining units in achieving salary savings. It is expected that other bargaining units will reach agreements for two-days of PLP, offset in part by suspending the employee contribution to pre-fund retiree health care.

CCPOA representing Bargaining Unit 6 (correctional officers) agreed to a one-day PLP and to different compensation reductions including holiday pay reductions and suspension of night and weekend shift differentials. It is not likely that other units will be able to find enough cost savings to meet the required reductions to avoid a second day of PLP.

ACSS has pushed for any compensation cuts for excluded employees to be offset in part by suspending the pre-funding of retiree health care. ACSS has also made clear to CalHR that the $260 per month health care affordability payment and the special salary adjustments must also be provided to all related excluded employees to avoid salary compaction issues.

With the SEIU Local 1000 Side Letter tentative agreement, we have reached out to CalHR to reiterate these requests and to also ensure that a fair package is in place for excluded employees not directly related to a bargaining unit. Should any rank-and-file unit not reach agreement and instead allow salary reductions to be imposed, ACSS will work to ensure that the reductions for related excluded employees are equitable.

As bills approving agreements reached by rank-and-file organizations are presented to the Legislature for approval, ACSS will continue its aggressive advocacy in protecting the employment interests of excluded employees. ACSS will also keep you informed with the latest information regarding your salaries and benefits.


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Legislature’s Version of the State Budget Avoids Suspending Salary Increases and Delays Possible Salary Reductions

Posted: 6/5/2020 Tags: budget legislation legislature representation salary Tags Views: 3308

Legislative leadership has announced agreement between the Senate and Assembly on a legislative version of the 2020-2021 State Budget. The Legislature has proposed its own version of the budget modifying the Governor’s proposed May Revision budget. While there is still a long way to go before a final state budget agreement is reached, the “Legislature’s Version” of the budget differs from the Governor’s May Revision in significant ways concerning state employee compensation.

The Governor’s May Revision budget proposal would suspend all planned pay raises for July 1, 2020 and would also temporarily reduce employee compensation by 10 percent. The temporary cuts would be “triggered off” if federal money is received by the state.

The Legislature’s Version instead assumes that congress will pass an economic stimulus package, noting there is “growing confidence” that federal funds will be received. If the federal funds are not received by September 1, 2020, trigger cuts for employee compensation would be authorized effective October 1, 2020. The details of the proposed employee compensation reduction authority are not yet published in bill form.

The Legislature’s Version notes that it “excludes proposed savings related to employee pay and suspending employee pay increases.” If this version of the budget were adopted, it would not authorize the Administration to furlough state employees or cut pay. It is uncertain whether the Governor could (or would) take action through the state budget process to suspend the planned July 1, 2020 salary increases. The Legislature also notes that state employee unions are being asked to agree to cost saving reductions through the collective bargaining process. The results of collective bargaining could also impact compensation for related excluded employees.

The Legislature’s Version of the state budget has not been published in bill form. The details of the employee compensation sections of the budget will matter. Negotiations between the Legislature and the Governor over the treatment of state employee compensation will continue with a budget resolution expected by the June 15 constitutional deadline. ACSS’ legislative advocates will be there to continue to protect the interests of excluded employees.


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CA Budget Deficit a Direct Result of Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 5/18/2020 Tags: budget COVID-19 salary Tags Views: 1262

Governor Gavin Newsom appeared on “State of the Union”, a televised CNN program, on Sunday to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic and the effect on the California economy. During the interview, Governor Newsom said that “the nearly $54 billion budget deficit the state is facing is a direct result of the impact from the coronavirus pandemic and not because of existing financial troubles.”

In January, Newsom projected a surplus after paying off 100% of inherited debts and pay down long-term financial obligations. However, last week Newsom revealed a revised budget deficit of $54 billion, affecting state worker’s salaries and many other state-funded programs.

Newsom, along with other western states, has asked Congress to send more financial aid to state governments. “We are not looking for charity. … It is incumbent upon the federal government to help support these states through difficult times.

Click here to read the full CNN article.


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State Budget Deficit Leads to Employee Compensation Reduction Proposals as Part of the May Revise

Posted: 5/14/2020 Tags: budget COVID-19 legislation pension policy salary Tags Views: 8430

In response to a state revenue reduction of over 30 percent, the Administration is proposing a number of costs savings measures including reductions in employee compensation of 10% from June 2020 levels and proposed reductions in state operations costs (office space, leases, travel, and procurement).

The plans were outlined to labor representatives yesterday in connection with today’s release of the Governor’s “May Revision” to the state budget proposal. CalHR Director Eraina Ortega and Deputy Director Paul Starkey held a call this morning with ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster and ACSS attorney Gerald James to discuss the proposals and impacts for excluded employees.

As part of the budget process, the Administration is seeking to “pull back” all salary increases (general salary increases and special salary adjustments) scheduled for July 1, 2020 for excluded employees and rank-and-file employees. They will also seek authority to reduce employee compensation by 10% effective July 1, 2020.

CalHR will attempt to negotiate the 10% reductions with each rank-and-file bargaining unit. If agreements cannot be reached with those units, the authority sought from the Legislature would allow CalHR to impose two days of unpaid furloughs per month, which would result in a 9.24% salary reduction, on state employees effective July 1, 2020. As of this morning, CalHR intends to link employee compensation reductions for supervisors and managers with their related bargaining units.

To mitigate the impact of any compensation reductions, the state is also considering a pause on state employees paying to prefund retiree healthcare. If passed by the Legislature, relief from excluded employees paying this “OPEB” contribution would range from 4.6% of salary to 1.4% of salary (for the highest paid state employees). ACSS realizes this does not come near offsetting the proposed reduction in take home pay, but it is a helpful mitigating step.

The proposed reductions are based on current economic projections from the Administration. The Legislature makes its own economic projections. The budget authority sought by the Administration will include a provision that if additional federal funding is received (related to the pandemic), these employee compensation reductions can be revisited.

While the employee compensation reduction plan will likely be impacted by bargaining conducted by the rank-and-file bargaining units, ACSS has already begun discussions with CalHR over the details related to excluded employees. ACSS will also seek to ensure that the authority to reduce compensation provided by the Legislature to CalHR is done in a manner that protects the interests of excluded employees as best as possible by ensuing compensation decreases are equitable. We will keep you apprised as these significant budget decisions and proposed reductions move forward.


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2020-21 State Budget: Governor Aims to Eliminate Debts, Pay Down Pension Liabilities and Grow Reserves

Posted: 1/24/2020 Tags: budget legislation policy politics salary Tags Views: 1516

On January 10, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2020-2021 State Budget that will fund the government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2020.

Under the governor’s plan, state spending next year would total just over $222 billion, with $153 billion in general fund and $63.8 billion in special fund spending. Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference. This is about a 3.5% increase over current fiscal year spending.

In this Budget, as with last year’s, the majority of the surplus is devoted to one-time spending. This approach enables the state to make significant investments in critical areas without making commitments to ongoing spending in future years.

Here is the quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation
The budget proposal includes $1.5 billion ($654 million general fund) in new funding for increased employee compensation, higher health care costs for active state employees, and the state’s contribution to prefund retiree health care costs for active employees. The budget summary notes the Administration will begin negotiations with 7 of the state’s 21 bargaining units, whose contracts expire in late June or early July 2020.

Building Budget Resiliency and Paying Down Unfunded Retirement Liabilities
In addition to the state’s required contributions, the Budget proposes to accelerate the payment of the remaining $500 million currently scheduled over fiscal years 2020-21 through 2022-23 into a single payment in 2020-21.

State Health Care/Retiree Health Care
Through the collective bargaining process, the state’s 21 employee bargaining units and related supervisors and managers now prefund retiree health benefits. As a result, $2.6 billion is currently set aside in the prefunding trust fund to pay for future retiree health benefits. A small but important step in paying for what is an estimated $85.6 billion in unfunded health care liability.

State Employee Position Increases
The budget projects the hiring of an additional 3,187 state employee positions in 2020-21 for a total of 219,017.

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft budget can be found here: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov

As the proposed state budget progresses, ACSS will continue to meet with CalHR to advocate for inclusion of funding for supervisory and managerial compensation salary increases. ACSS will also be meeting-and-conferring with the state over realignments impacting ACSS members including the workforce programs moving into the new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages and the Juvenile Justice reorganization into the new Department of Youth and Community Restoration.

As we delve into more of the proposed budget details, we will report on any new positions and increased funding proposals for departments outlined in the full budget or if there are other proposals that impact ACSS and its members. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Click here to read the full version of the ACSS State Budget Report as presented by our ACSS Legislative Advocate, Ted Toppin at the January 18th, 2020, ACSS Board Meeting.


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May Revision of the 2019 – 2020 State Budget

Posted: 5/13/2019 Tags: budget legislation legislature policy Tags Views: 1605

Governor Newsom released his May Revise of the state budget on May 9, 2019. While forecasting a budget surplus of $21.5 billion for the budget year beginning July 1, the May Revise predicts slower economic growth in the years to come and warns of the possibly detrimental economic impact of even a mild recession.

The Governor’s proposed budget would increase the state’s rainy day fund to $16.5 billion to build resiliency in the event of an unpredicted recession. It also provides for some one-time funding to assist with cost-of living assistance for the middle class, the housing crisis, K-12 schools, and homelessness. The proposal kicks off legislative deliberation over the budget plan with a June 15 deadline for the legislature to send a budget to the governor.

A few highlights of importance to ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation
The January budget proposal included $1.2 billion for increased employee compensation (including proposed salary increases for most supervisors and managers), higher health care costs for active employees, and the state’s contribution to prefund retiree health care costs for active employees. This amount is updated slightly to reflect health benefit enrollments and costs. ACSS will continue to meet with CalHR, advocating for increases in excluded employee salaries for 2019 – 2020.

Pension Contributions
The budget includes $6.8 billion for the state employer’s contribution to CalPERS and a supplemental payment of $3 billion to CalPERS. The supplemental payment is expected to save $7.2 billion in state employer pension costs over 30 years.

Paid Family Leave
The Governor plans to bolster California’s Paid Family Leave program over the next few years and makes budgetary adjustments to plan for the expansion of the program. ACSS’ legislative advocates are busy supporting legislation which would for the first time make Paid Family Leave available to excluded employees, a long-standing goal of ACSS.

Governmental Reorganization
The proposed budget reflects the Administration’s intent to reorganize elements of state government, notably the Division of Juvenile Justice. With a proposed effective date of July 1, 2020, ACSS will work to protect the interests of members moved from CDCR to a new department under the California Health and Human Services Agency.

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft can be found here:

http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/


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2019-20 State Budget: Responsible, with Lots of Bold One-Time Investments

Posted: 1/15/2019 Tags: budget legislation policy Tags Views: 2660

On January 10th, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2019-20 State Budget that would fund state government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2019.

State spending next year would total just over $209 billion, with $144.2 billion in general fund and $59.5 billion special funds spending.  Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference.  This is about a 4% increase over current fiscal year spending.  State general fund revenue is booming.  According to the governor, there is $21 billion in surplus revenue.  In November, the LAO had predicted a $15 billion surplus.  This is in addition to the $16 billion held in the state’s rainy day fund and other reserve accounts.  The Newsom proposed budget will sock an additional $1.8 billion into the rainy day fund alone.

The governor preached responsible budgeting while also touting his many well-publicized new budget initiatives.  

On the fiscal responsibility front he sounded much like Jerry Brown in recent years.  He said his Administration is preparing for the inevitable next recession, plans to build the largest state budget reserve in history, and noted that his new budget initiatives are largely one-time funding proposals.  

The governor spent the rest of his time outlining what he called bold investments in California’s future, including plans to increase access to affordable health care and prescription drugs, address the housing and homelessness crisis, and provide universal preschool for four-year-olds, among other expansions in education funding.  

Click here to read a quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members...
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All State Employees Begin Prefunding Retiree Health Care

Posted: 8/24/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 5671

Your August paystub will likely reflect a deduction for something called CERBT. That stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust. Along with the General Salary Increases received by supervisors, managers and confidential employees on July 1, the budget includes provisions to begin prefunding retiree health care. While some excluded employees have already seen this contribution take effect, all state employees are now prefunding retiree healthcare.

Your contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

In July, CalHR announced that excluded and exempt employees not directly associated with a bargaining unit, e.g., E48, E97, E98, and E99, will begin prefunding 0.8% of their pensionable compensation to Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) effective with the August 2018 pay period.

ACSS compiled the following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rates for OPEB and information provided by CalHR for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit. OPEB Contribution rates:

OPEB Rates for EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES
AFFILIATED WITH BARGAINING UNIT
Effective August 2018:
 CERBT
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.2%
 2  1.3%
 6  4% 
 7  2.7%
 8  3%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  2.5%
 13  2.6%
 16  1.4%
 17  1.2%
 18  2.6%
 19  2%
 Exempt and excluded employees
not directly tied to a BU
 0.8%

Details of the OPEB provisions are available here: http://hrmanual.calhr.ca.gov/Home/ManualItem/1/1422

Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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